One thing that is quite apparent from living in Ireland is that, often, the more confident you are… the less likeable you will come across. We love the underdog and we love the humble. The begrudging mentality of ‘who do you think you are?’ is our common response to people who we consider are getting ‘too big for their boots’. At the same time, we know how important confidence is in helping us to achieve our goals.

So, how do we balance confidence and humility? How do we avoid seeming arrogant or smug (a quieter form of arrogance)? The answer lies in our ability to understand the difference between feelings and actions. Feeling confident is something that we experience in ourselves. How we let other people see this feeling will determine whether or not we are perceived as confident or arrogant or egotistical.

Think of someone you know who you consider as arrogant. What is it that they do to make you believe that they are arrogant or smug? What words do they use? How do they talk about themselves? What tone of voice do they use? What is their body language? By understanding this you will learn what not to do when communicating with others.

Consider some people you know who you believe are confident but not arrogant or smug. Again, study their body language, voice tone, words and behaviours… notice the difference between these people and those from the other group. This exercise will give you a clear sense of how you need to ensure that you come across.

To help you even further, here are 6 tips that might help:

  1. Focus on how you can make the other person feel better about themselves in your presence. This simple focus will make you come across less egotistical and more focused on others.
  2. Use self-deprecation from time to time. Used in measure it will let others see that you don’t take yourself too seriously.
  3. Acknowledge your good strengths and avoid apologising for them. At the same time, equally acknowledge others good strengths and things you need to work on.
  4. Avoid defensiveness of any kind. Focus on the point of what you know rather than why you know you are correct.
  5. Remind yourself that everyone else is better at you at something or in some way even if you can’t see it immediately.
  6. Notice the ego when you feel yourself wanting to prove yourself. Ask yourself ‘do I really need to prove myself here or is this just the ego talking?’

The exercise and tips should help you achieve the right level of confidence to be both likeable and also help you to achieve your goals. Try them out and let me know how you get on.


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